Information on UNI Standard 11592 for Therapeutic Arts

The following translations from Italian into English are to be considered unofficial and for the sole purpose of presenting the subject matter.


Law No. 4 of 14 January 2013, Disposizioni in materia di professioni non organizzate in ordini e collegi [Provisions on professions not organised in orders and colleges], was enacted to regulate unregulated professions (such as the profession of music therapist) that provide:

“[…] economic activity, including organised economic activity, aimed at providing services or works for third parties, habitually and prevalently exercised by means of intellectual work, or in any case with the concurrence thereof, with the exclusion of activities reserved by law to persons registered in registers or lists pursuant to Article 2229 of the Civil Code, the health professions and craft, commercial and public activities and trades governed by specific regulations. [Art. 1(2)].

The law provides that such professionals may constitute themselves into:

“[…] associations of a professional nature of a private nature, founded on a voluntary basis, without any constraint of exclusive representation, with the aim of enhancing the skills of the members and ensuring compliance with the rules of professional ethics, facilitating the choice and protection of users in compliance with the rules on competition’. [Art. 2(1)].

At the same time, the law provides that these professionals may also self-regulate independently of membership of the professional associations mentioned in Article 2. In particular, Article 6 on ‘Voluntary Self-Regulation’ provides:

“1. This law promotes the voluntary self-regulation and qualification of the activity of persons exercising the professions referred to in Article 1, even irrespective of their membership of one of the associations referred to in Article 2.
2. The qualification of the professional service is based on its compliance with UNI ISO, UNI EN ISO, UNI EN and UNI technical standards, hereinafter referred to as “UNI technical standards” [….]3. The requirements, skills, methods of exercising the activity and the methods of communication with the user identified by the UNI technical standards constitute the general principles and criteria governing the self-regulated exercise of the individual professional activity and ensure its qualification. […]

In order to self-regulate, professionals can therefore first draw up specific ‘UNI technical standards’ for each professional category and, on the basis of these, obtain certification from accredited certification bodies.
Art 9 on ‘Certification of conformity with UNI technical standards’, in fact, states:

“1. The professional associations referred to in Art. 2 and the aggregative forms referred to in Art. 3 shall cooperate in the drafting of the UNI technical standards relating to individual professional activities, through participation in the work of the specific technical bodies or by sending their contributions to the standardisation body during the public enquiry stage, in order to guarantee maximum consensus, democratic nature and transparency. The same associations may promote the establishment of conformity certification bodies for the sectors of competence, in compliance with the requirements of independence, impartiality and professionalism provided for such bodies by the regulations in force and guaranteed by the accreditation referred to in paragraph 2.
2. The certification bodies accredited by the single national accreditation body pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008, may issue, at the request of the individual professional also not registered with any association, the certificate of conformity to the UNI technical standard defined for the individual profession.

In accordance with the provisions of this Law, representatives of various professional associations and professional congregations (including representatives of Confiam) of the various Arts Therapies (Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Dance Therapy, Theatre Therapy, Dramatherapy) formed a working group at UNI and drew up a specific Standard UNI 11592, Non-regulated professional activities – Professional figures working in the field of Arts Therapies – Requirements of knowledge, skills and competence” which was published in October 2015.

This Standard can be downloaded, against payment, from the UNI website, at this link. The Standard is in fact not releasable, neither in its entirety nor in individual parts. The Standard defines:

“[…] knowledge, skills and competences […] and defines the tasks of the arts therapist by grouping them into six essential steps. Art therapists must be able to receive, analyse and understand the requests for intervention addressed to them, design specific interventions, negotiate the contract, carry out and conclude the intervention, evaluate its outcome, and work in multi-professional contexts and teams’. (from the UNI website)

The Standard goes into the merits of the specific skills needed for each of the aforementioned tasks. The Standard also enters into the merits of the training of the Arts Therapists, establishing some fundamental criteria, in quantitative and qualitative terms, and, therefore, the criteria for access to the profession.

The criteria governing the training protocol of Confiam schools comply with those laid down in UNI 11592.